Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Buddy, Hank

Well, I've been home most days for just about three weeks now. This little circumstance has disrupted the lives of the entire family. It's hard for Joe to get up and go to work if I stay in bed. It's hard for me to get up and get dressed for the day, only to stay home, while Joe goes to work. And, it is different for Hank.

Hank is a dog of routine. He gets up initially with Joe and goes outside for a quick squat and then comes running back into the house - all full of relief and enthusiasm. He then jumps on the bed or goes into our little bathroom to watch us get ready for the day - same every morning for nearly six years. But, now, it is different...

I always wondered what he did all day while we were gone. Did he sleep? Did he look out the window? Did he watch TV or play Wii Alpine Skiing? Raid the fridge? Surf the web? Did he wait patiently for us to return or did he practice playing dead and hiding from possible intruders - He's not the bravest of canines, although he does have a beautiful heart. I'm sure his spirit is willing to be brave and the rest of him just won't cooperate.

The first week I was home, he pretty much slept all day in the bedroom. I think he figured this would be over soon and he could be about his normal life. The second week, he ventured out and would check on me from time to time. And, most often, I would find him curled up in the bedroom where he sleeps. And, occasionally, I would hear him chasing cats or playing ball in his dreams.

This week is different - he has been my constant companion. He has followed me everywhere and has stayed by my side no matter where I am or what I am doing. I wonder if he can feel that I'm struggling a bit, a little sad and need some assurance that things are going to be OK, different maybe, but OK. So, throughout the day, I will feel a big, warm head on my arm to remind me he is there - or, a lick on my hand when I open the door for him to go outside; or, he will just sleep next to my feet and be still - always near me.

Some people say that animals don't have a soul. I have never understood that thought and think it is so silly. I believe our pets are God's gifts to us and teach us well about patience, trust, kindness, devotion, loyalty, friendship, sharing, forgiveness - unconditional love...

Today, I am thankful for Hank - my big, sweet, goofy and loving blessing - who has reminded me I am not alone and that things are going to be OK - different maybe, but OK.

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